Sunday, May 24, 2015


We've had a very rainy month around here. After four or five months of next to no precipitation, it has rained almost every day for the last few weeks. This has translated into some beautiful flowers, and lush green mountains.  The first few pictures are taken on the grounds of the new Payson temple when I took the girls there for a tour of the bride's room and sealing room (where marriages are performed).
It is an amazing building. I've never --bar none --ever seen a more beautiful building inside. 

And the grounds are done in the same extravagent way. This is now the background picture on my phone!
For mother's day, we took some pictures of the kids for my mom's traditional mother's day grandchildren collage.

 Aren't they beautiful?
 We were also the lucky ones who got to pick up all of the flowers to give out to mothers in our church congregation. 
 The entire truck bed was full. I wish I could somehow have kept them all. I like myself a big impact, and all of them together are spectacular. 

 The young men brought them in to give to the mothers during the third hour of church.

They were pretty excited.
  The weather takes little breaks, and last Sunday was perfect to eat outside. Tia was in charge of flowers and I cooked. Ari set the table, and Kai grilled the salmon burgers. He was pretty proud of himself.

 I loved Tia's arrangements and brought them inside for the week. 

 Right now, yard flowers look better than anything you can buy in the store. It's just plush and luxurious around here. 
 Here's my mid week arrangement. I'm so excited to get enough peonies to harvest this year, and I swear a new color of iris showed up in my patch this season. I've never seen the white with purple variety here before.

The rain has made the whole county look like something out of the opening credits to Sound of Music.

I know it will dry out eventually, but right now it feels like paradise. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Our cabin.

When I was little, we had a cabin. My grandma Donna actually had a cabin, and we got to use it. We would all pile into the old, fake wood-paneled station wagon and start what seemed like the endless drive up to the Laguna mountains (it was really only about an hour). I got carsick almost every time. There were winding, bumpy, dirt roads for the last part of the drive, and a big cloud of dust would follow the car. When we finally pulled into the driveway and parked, it seemed unnaturally quiet after the commotion of the car. 

The big pines on either side of the front porch were what we called "vanilla pines". I'm sure that isn't the scientific name, but when I put my face to the bark, it smelled like vanilla ice cream. The bark was like a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle, with intricate curly pieces paving the trunk.  Every once in a while we would hear a woodpecker with a bright red head tapping those trunks for bugs. 

 The building itself was stone set in cement, with a broad cement porch. When we went inside, it was always very dusty. There was a huge wagon wheel chandelier in the center of the living area, an old couch (was it a hide-a-bed?), a long trestle table with benches to eat at, and a huge fireplace which was also the only source of heat for the building. It got very cold at night. There was a loft halfway across the main floor where all of the beds were. All of the mattresses were covered with plastic sheets, and we slept on them in our sleeping bags. You went upstairs with a pine branch railing, and the branch railing lined the edge of the loft so kids wouldn't fall off. There was a bathroom on the main floor, and I still remember running in when we first got to the cabin one time and finding a mouse drowned in the toilet bowl. There were always mouse droppings all over the place. The first job when we got there was always to clean a bit. 

But then the fun started. There were toads that hopped all over the front yard to catch.  There almost always was one hiding in the box with the water meters. There was a huge tree swing that my dad would push us on until we were old enough to "pump" with our own legs. 
At some point we would go on a hike to the lake. It wasn't very large, and was placed in the middle of a meadow full of cow pies which you would have to watch out for because they weren't all dried out. When you got near it, the ground would become marshy and smelly. But the water was still our destination. I don't remember ever going swimming in that water, but we waded, and one year there were dozens of tiny black pollywogs which we caught and brought home to raise into frogs. Some of them even sprouted tiny legs before they died, They all died. The next summer we went to the cabin there was no lake. The whole area was just meadow. I was so disappointed because I wanted another shot at the pollywogs, but had to be content with the toads in the yard, which always seemed a little dangerous because my mom told us they had poison in their skin. I worried about warts.

At night there were bats swooping into the porch light snatching the bugs that swarmed there. Sometimes there was a bat or two inside the cabin. Although I remember being nervous, I don't remember being scared. I love bats now.

On the way home, if the stars aligned, my dad would stop at a store in Laguna. I don't know now if it was the ranger station too, or just a gift shop. I remember a wooden bench in front that hundreds of people had carved their names on, and my mom told me I couldn't carve mine, although I had a huge folding camping knife my dad had given me with its own fork and spoon! There was also a wooden Indian in front of the building which was fascinating. My dad would buy us each a Martinelli's apple cider in individual bottles that were shaped like apples. Also fascinating.

The drive home was anticlimactic, and was tinged by carsickness. I always got sick when I read in the car, but it didn't always stop me, and I often made myself sick because I couldn't wait for my book until I was home. I'd like to say it was just the twisty roads that made me sick, but it was often self-destructive behavior.

I wish I had a cabin to take my kids to.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Trip to Auburn and Deja

 The last week of April, I squeaked out the time and funds to go visit my lovely sister and her family in Auburn, Alabama. It was so worth it! I got to stay in their cute house and play with their cute little little, and when it was time to put her to bed, I just put in my earplugs and let them go to it! My mom says I was in Grandma mode --all the fun and none of the work. Seriously though, they dote on that girl. She's very lucky. 

I went for a run every day that I wasn't flying in or out, and the runs were wonderful. Wild honeysuckle and deep, tall trees lined every road. I had a nice light easy listening book on my mp3 player, and I had nothing to hurry for. Wonderful. 
 We did something fun every day. We went for lunch one day (and popsicles another day) at Overall Co.  We got a sandwich and a salad (I tried pimento cheese for the first time -- I think I liked it) and split them to get some of each. When we picked up our food, it was hard not to stare at the lady who checked us out --her accent was so cute, it was hard not to think it was put on!

The interior had all of this steampunk/rustic decor.

 In the side of the shop is the popsicle store. They have a dozen or so flavors (lemonade basil anyone?), and the guy will dip them in chocolate for you or a bunch of other toppings once summer hits. 

 Also really cute in there thanks to some cute decor --- we brought our own. 

Like I said, we had an outing every day, but I still had plenty of time to play with little tiny. Side note --I was awful at playing with my own kids. I don't know if it was just the stress free atmosphere here or what, but I loved playing with this little miss.

 She was always moving --always creating a little scenario with toys or baskets or dish towels!

One morning we had completely to ourselves, and after watching Nemo all the way through while playing "cupcakes" with all of her balloons , we took the car to downtown Auburn and walked up and down the streets of little boutiques and shops. There are some fancy shmancy shops, but all of them had an orange and blue section of  school spirit stuff. Football is huge here.

One of the shops we found was a cupcake shop. Enough said.

 The university buildings were beautiful. Lots of red sandstone, which reminds me of St. George. I guess that's why they call the St. George area Dixie --the red rock is the same!

  We spent one morning in this huge antique mall, where I found the mother lode of blue willow stuff for a great price. 

  Some of it was a different blue and white pattern that for 2.50-3.00 each I couldn't resist!

 The last day we drove up to Atlanta. That's where I was flying out of, and Deja thought I'd like to explore it. They have a wonderful aquarium that we went through, but the only pictures I took were of Deja and Sam. I've taken a lot of aquarium pictures in my time! 

 Cutest things there. 

The morning I was to fly out, I got a notice that my flight was delayed....for ten hours! So we went to the High Museum of Art, Atlanta. The renaissance/pre-renaissance art was on the first floor, and as you went up the floors, it got more and more modern. This was on the top floor.

 So was this -- it reminded me of the "Queen of the Sea" icons I'd see in Uruguay. Modern interpretation. 
 This one was a tiny print done on copper. It was so rich and jewel-like in person. Overall I enjoyed the lower floors the most. 

We also had a gardening day I didn't get a picture of, and lots of great meals out. I tried not only pimento cheese for the first time, but foie gras, and excargot, and fried oysters. The best meal was a crab cakes benedict in a little bakery in Atlanta. Just fabulous. The only problem I had with where Deja lives is that it's much too far away!

Tia's prom.

 Late one night, we heard a knock on the door. On the porch was this bouquet of so many dumdums we've shared with every kid in the neighborhood, and still have a bunch left a month later. Inside was an invitation to the prom.
 In Utah it's a big deal how you ask and answer people for dances. We did NOTHING like this in San Diego where I grew up. 

It's also a thing that the entire day is given over to prom activities. We just did dinner at Red Lobster, and went to the dance. Tia's group went to the park at 11:00 for Nerf gun wars and had a great time. The poor kid in front had his date taking the ACT at that time, so Tia said he just kept switching sides to keep it even!

From 2:00-4:00 we were getting Tia ready. My sweet friend let us borrow this dress, and I still needed to spot it a little at the hem, and do some tiny repairs. We did makeup, hair and jewelry. I had a lot of fun. 
But didn't look very prom worthy myself!
This girl was almost more excited for Tia's prom than she was!
Her Benedict Cumberbatch lookalike date finally came to get her.

I got plenty of candids, but forgot to have them pose together ...

and they were out the door and gone before I remembered!

 Her date's nice parents then took a ton of pictures of the group at the park.


It looked like they enjoyed themselves!
 I love this one.

Here they are at the school for promenade. Which I forgot about. We didn't do this in S.D. either!

 Apparently they come out on stage, and they announce them as a couple. 

Good thing I have friends with cameras. Huge mom fail! She had a wonderful time. This kid seems like a great guy. He's already got his mission call to England, leaving this summer, but Tia has had fun getting to know him for now. Goodness she's growing up. It's so scary!